Inside Out

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I recently saw “Inside Out” [If you haven’t seen it, GO NOW!]. The film made me realize that we always talk about the economic crisis, but we rarely talk about what we think and feel during the time we stand in line, in las colas.

This is the story of how a simple task became a roller-coaster for our thoughts and feelings.

We were driving around one cloudy, Friday afternoon when I said:

  • “Let’s get some carrots to make carrot cake”.
  • “Where should we get them?”
  • Before I could say anything, Charlie said “that lady has some toilet paper in that bag. It must be from the big Gama Supermarket [Excelsior Gama Plus at La Trinidad]”. We then turned right and headed straight for said supermarket.

Locating a possible distribution site of regulated products has become part of our daily train of thought. We are constantly looking at people’s shopping bags and doing the math: “they have Harina PAN, but I have enough at home”, “Is that rice? I need at least two kilos of rice”, “I haven’t seen soap bars in while” and so on and so forth.

On the way to the parking lot we noticed some bachaqueros, and a couple of people holding bags with toilet paper. Jackpot!

But wait… I suddenly realized it was not our ID day. The feeling: despair.

We still had to get the carrots, so we drove past some [lucky] pedestrians with bags of toilet paper to find the entrance to the parking lot.

Out of nowhere, Charlie had a Eureka moment and said: “Wait a second… Didn’t Osorio eliminate the ID number restriction?” I wasn’t sure about that, but an awesome feeling emerged: hope.

Before we went into the supermarket, we asked a young guy if there was any ID number restriction. He said “no” and we both couldn’t help but smiled.

We got in and there was a short line of 5 or 6 people to get “regulated products”.

I said “let’s see what they have”, but Charlie grabbed a cart and said “Anabella, get everything”.

20150710_144922 (2)We each got 3 packs of 4 toilet paper rolls, 2 packs of 24 medium size baby diapers and 2 packs of 8 sanitary pads. It was like gold, frankincense and myrrh, and it all started with an unexpected star of Bethlehem: a [lucky] pedestrian with a bag of toilet paper.

We knew that we didn’t need diapers, but we prefer to give them away to someone who needed them before we let some bachaqueros have them. A second after we got our quota in the cart, we offered the diapers to a couple of friends via WA. One said there were too small for his twins, and the other said “I want them”. Cased closed.

The feeling: righteousness.

But let’s not forget, we needed carrots.

I walked 10 steps, got a pre-packed tray of carrots and noticed a couple of ladies holding bags powder laundry detergent. As you can see, our “regulated products” radar is never “off”.

A lady said “at the end of this aisle”. We walked rather quickly, and we each nabbed 1 bag. The thought: elation. “What more can we ask for?”

Charlie also grabbed 4 small bottles of liquid detergent (2 for each), 2 small bottles of liquid stain remover (1 for each) and a big bottle of dishwashing soap.

We got in line and while we were waiting we found ourselves saying “how lucky are we? We got here just in time…”

We were marveled by our well stocked shopping cart: 24 rolls of toilet paper, 96 baby diapers, 32 sanitary pads, 5.4 kilos of powder laundry detergent, 2 liters of liquid detergent, 1 liter of liquid stain remover and a big bottle of dishwashing soap. And yes, let’s not forget the carrots.

For at least 5 seconds, we felt lucky. We felt un respiro from the everyday craziness. We felt that it wasn’t so bad. But on the sixth second, we came back to reality.

We got in line to pay and realized that we were mastering the art of the rationing system. We understood the game and knew how to play. We had made it part of our everyday. Our 5 seconds of luck had turned into revulsion, loathing, despair… and a lot of anger.

The cashier asked for our IDs and we each paid for our quotas separately. While we waited for the receipts, he told us that the captahuellas – fingerprint scanners – would eventually get there, but the system was already integrated.

So, apparently, once I got my weekly quota in any supermarket, I could not get it anywhere else; or at least not in formal supermarkets, because I imagine that bachaqueros are not exactly “integrated” in this rationing system.

Our joint grand total was: BsF 1.985,32. That is only US$ 3.3 at a black-market rate of 611.25 BsF/US$. But our salaries are in bolívares. So we really spent a little over a quarter of a minimum wage.

And it all started with a simple task: “Let’s get some carrots to make carrot cake”.

53 COMMENTS

  1. I dont understand the obsession with “bachaqueros”. I could understand it even less coming from an economist. Yes, bachaqueros are, at one level, rent-seekers. But they are also, the last little bit of “market” left in our economy. Bachaqueros allow for prices to be the ultimate assigner mechanism of goods. Your either want rationing or you want market. Take your pick.
    I, for once, support the bachaqueros. They put some effort and get a return. Nothing wrong with it.And they allow for prices to assign goods. I hate the system that gives live to such black market, and I hate the effect it has on the formal sector and labor markets. However, if you ask me, I take the black market over perfect rationing anyday.

    • The problem with the bachaqueros is that they are “removing” goods from the supermarket that could that could satisfy the needs of many families at regulated prices forcing them to pay 5-10 times those prices. As the post already indicated, “….. we really spent a little over a quarter of a minimum wage”. That leaves many families with little or no money to purchase non-regulated prices which are still needed ay home.

      • Oh but bachaqueros sell all what they buy. So they work to satisfy the needs of those willing to pay their price. That is how markets work. So, you decide, market or rationing? Take your pic.

        • They do sell all they buy. But if they left the merchandise in the supermarket it would still sell, but at a much, much lower price. The way I see it, and I may be totally wrong, in capitalism you do not remove items from the market so that you can sell it at a much higher price once the supermarkets have been depleted from such items. In capitalism if a market need is not satisfy by the quantity or quality available, new sources for those items are created. So I’m not really blaming the bachaqueros, they are just taking advantage of a government created situation. It just that it pisses me off when I’ve been waiting in line to get toilette paper and I see guys coming out from the unloading docks carrying bultos of toilette paper and then I get to the front of the line only to find out that they ran out of the item.

          • “…in capitalism you do not remove items from the market so that you can sell it at a much higher price once the supermarkets have been depleted from such items.”

            That’s because that is the chavista definition of capitalism, which is actually just being a stupid asshole.

        • No, dude, simply, no.

          bachabasuras are assholes who arrive before anybody can get into markets and raze everything like a swarm of locusts, then cross the street and resell regulated, indispensable stuff for several times its original price.

          It’s not a market, it’s an extortion: “If you don’t want to compete against me, who am going to take away everything you need; then come and let me squeeze all your hard-earned money.”. People who has to work from 9 to 6 doesn’t have a choice and has to spend all their salary on a miserable amount of products, or they have to leave their workplace in order to waste their productive time trying to get the products before the bachabasuras can, lowering the productivity of their workplaces.

          bachabasuras are just another variant of the “viveza criolla” behavior that’s actually criminal intent under a pretty euphemism, and part of another mafia managed by chavista regime, like the dollar and gasoline mafias.

    • “Your either want rationing or you want market.” – I think you are confusing free market with black market. We want the first, not the latter which is dishonest and unethical most of the time. Black market prices, even though they are driven by demand and supply, are a consequence of manipulation of the supply by the government in this case. Hence, it’s not a “free” market. Bachaqueros empty the stores before honest people, impoverished by the system, even get to the store. They might not be the root cause of the problem, but Bachaqueros are a problem.

      • The guy sounds like an apologetic chavista, who claims that “reselling food is okay to round your income, but it’s bad to do so with medicines because my mother needs medicines”

        • You mean me? Let me be clear. I think, given the circumstances, “bachaquear” is a valid use of time and also, I think they perform a service to society by introducing back some sense of markets.

          • bachaquear performs a service to society in the same way a malandro performs a service to society by helping the gravediggers to have work.

            bachaquear has no merit at all, it doesn’t involve any intellectual nor any physical effort at all, there’s absolutely no value involved on it, it’s just a bunch of sons of bitches who come and deplete everything from the shelves before the actual working people could have a chance to buy the stuff.

            I bet you wouldn’t be so apologetic with them if suddenly one day, bachaqueros started to camp in gasoline stations, selling each liter by 450 Bs, just because they got there before you and depleted the whole reserves in the station (Well, that would apply if you lived in Venezuela AND had a car, I don’t know where do you live nor if you have a car) or if a relative of yours needed a critical medicine, but said medicine couldn’t be found, because, again, the bachabasuras came and took it all before you had a chance.

            ““bachaquear” is a valid use of time and also”

            No, it’s not a valid use of time, it’s like saying that mugging people at gunpoint was a valid use of time.

      • If you read carefully, you will realize I precisely referred to “black” markets. But guess what? No matter how “black”, a black market is still a market.

        • I read carefully and I think you are confusing free vs black. One that is desirable vs one that we have to live with like any illegal market out there (drugs, weapons, prostitution, etc etc etc). It all comes down to what benefits the community. Bachaqueros are hurting the community and if you read carefully, bachaqueo imho is far from being the root cause of the problem. It’s not even an issue worth debating about, unless someone stands up and says things like “Bachaqueros allow for prices to be the ultimate assigner mechanism of goods.”. Then it is my duty to take off my white glove and slap you Rei.

          • I dont talk to people that go around slapping other instead of engaging in discussion. You are right, not worth the time. Why is it illegal for bachaqueros to sell those goods? Have you asked yourself that question? Selling food is no different to you than selling drugs? weapons?

          • “Why is illegal the bachaqueo?”

            You can begin with the first reason, that also applies to all the so called “informal economy”: They evade the fuck of taxes like IVA, ISLR, and the myriad of other taxes that legal workers are stabbed with.

            Second: They don’t have the rest of the legal documents required to work in Venezuela (RIF, registro, bills, accountability books, among others)

            Third: They’ve created monopolies by hoarding the goods (They buy before anybody else can) and inflating the prices on ficticious bases (Even at non-regulated market prices, bachabasuras sell products by three to seven times that value), bachaquear doesn’t imply any effort, neither physical nor intellectual (They to the same thing ANYBODY could do, walk into the store, pick the product off the shelf, pay for it), crossing the street to sell the product isn’t work.

            Stop trying to excuse the bachabasuras, they are hoarders, part of a magia created by the chavista regime with its senseless price controls, because that’s simply applying the cadivi and gasoline give away to everything else, getting the products for free to resell at black market.

    • we hate them because they get several times more income than the people who live on the salary of making the actual product. They are not the cause, they are the consecuense or a symptom of the dysfuntionality of our economy. But like capitalism itself, it sometimes conflicts with our ideas of morality and decency and it seems like the law of the jungle out there, they just see an opportunity and take it. By the way, it’s also illegal for what is worth…

    • Thank you Rei for your post.

      I completely agree with you and yes it is very surprising that economists lambaste “bachaqueros” for basically performing a public service. I can understand the rest of the population not getting it, but economists?

      The sad part is that all that anger wrongly directed to the bachaqueros, who have a right to make a living and provide an important public service, is not directed to the creator of the problem which is the price control policy. Only when the public in general understands this, will bad politicians that offer to lower prices via decree lose their jobs.

      No me canso de postear esta lección de economía. Parafraseando al profesor:
      “en todas las plazas de todas las ciudades … debería haber un monumento al “BACHAQUERO” ”
      https://youtu.be/gv4fhdz3SUY?t=6m30s

      Yo lo he tratado explicar hasta con cuentos de arepas.

    • It is also funny that these economists buy (hoard) something they do not need just to give it for free to someone else that could probably pay above the regulated price (or simply make the lines themselves, as they should), in the process harming some (hypothetical) poor person that could have used that product but could not find it.
      A reverse Robin Hood, take from the needy to give to a friend.

      They act like bachaqueros but feel morally superior (righteousness) because they do not take money for themselves (as if making a profit was a bad thing). At least the bachaqueros are benefiting two people that really need it: themselves (usually bachaqueros need the money) and whomever is willing to buy the good at the black market rate, rather than the lucky friend. What is fairer to give it someone that really needs it or a friend?

      What people need to understand is that rationing and price controls are inherently unfair while free market prices are fair, and yes free markets include black markets (when a bachaquero buys something he is not “taking it off the market”, he is actually putting it in the market). Why are price controls and rationing unfair? Because, like the article shows, anyone can easily (and cheaply) buy a good regardless of how much they care for it, leaving the ones that really need it to pay the much higher prices.

      Not to mention price controls create the scarcity in the first place.

      Economy 101.
      Bachaqueros do not create the high prices, it is the scarcity, the rationing, and ultimately the price control. Write it down a thousand times until it sinks in.
      Scarcity … creates …. High Prices
      Rationing … creates … Black Markets
      Price Controls … creates … Scarcity

      • Regulated prices and black market prices.
        In the end it is the final consumer that creates the high prices of a scarce product. The lucky ones that pay at the regulated price because for every one that pays at a low price someone else is forced to pay at a high price. The unlucky ones that really need the product because they pay an inflated price. The average between them would be the fair market price. The bachaqueros, those that buy products not for themselves but for others (some do it for profit, others like the authors of the post do it for friends and family, and yes they are bachaqueros too) do not actually raise the price but instead provide a service.

        The price of time.
        Rationed products still always carry a high price, except the difference is paid in time at the line. Since not everyone’s time has the same value it makes sense to have those with more available time do the waiting for those who can not afford to waste time at a line. That is where bachaqueros provide an important service. In a world without bachaqueros every person, children, housewifes, teachers, generals, executives, even tourists would have to stand in line to buy for their own needs. That would be an impossibly dysfunctional world.

        Rationing supermarket style.
        The problem with rationing at a supermarket is that there is one line for all regulated products instead of a line for each product. After waiting you gain access to all regulated products regardless of need. After you have paid the high price of time it makes sense to pay the low price of money for products even if you do not need them, whether you are going to resell them in exchange of money or “quid pro quo” like the authors. A line per product would be fairer because people would only make that particular line if they really needed the product (for themselves or for resale which again is perfectly valid).

    • Absolutely. In fact without the actions of the bachaqueros the subsidy of those who cap afford paying higher prices would be much higher ☺ The only sad part is that it is against the law… but for that the government should first have to set the example. Just like if the government sold a bar of gold beneath its market price would naturally be deemed an act of corruption, so should selling US$ beneath its market price also be deemed.

      “La diferencia entre quien quema cuatrocientos litros de gasolina mensuales en su carro, y quien efectúa un contrabando de extracción por la misma cantidad para obtener unos doscientos dólares, es simplemente leguleya. De hecho, el que contrabandea la gasolina puede muy bien estar ejecutando una actividad económica más eficiente que el que la quema en colas, y en consecuencia cumplir una función más patriótica.”

      http://petropolitan.blogspot.com/2013/08/no-nos-merecemos-nuestro-pais.html

    • Let`s not confuse bachaqueros and buhoneros. These last sell at prices higher than you get in a supermarket, regulated or not, and in return they bring the goods to, say, a few blocks from your house, no one hour line at the cashier, etc. Bachaqueros, on the other hand, see the opportunity of getting rich fast via other people`s despair.

  2. Other than that, congratulations on your post. I think is a very clever analogy, and definitely is a situation affecting the way we act and feel, with important impact on our wellbeing.

    • Let’s remember that, according to dissociated chavecos, 6,3 is the ONLY rate that exists and the one that reigns supreme over 159% of the whole economy in Venezuela.

      maburro and perico silva said it, so it HAS to be true!

  3. “On the way to the parking lot we noticed some bachaqueros, and a couple of people holding bags with toilet paper. Jackpot!”

    We got in line and while we were waiting we found ourselves saying “how lucky are we? We got here just in time…”

    We were marveled by our well stocked shopping cart: 24 rolls of toilet paper, 96 baby diapers, 32 sanitary pads, 5.4 kilos of powder laundry detergent, 2 liters of liquid detergent, 1 liter of liquid stain remover and a big bottle of dishwashing soap. And yes, let’s not forget the carrots.”

    Complete brain-washing program: Complete.

    Next step: Reduce purchasing power even more:

    “Our joint grand total was: BsF 1.985,32. That is only US$ 3.3 at a black-market rate of 611.25 BsF/US$. But our salaries are in bolívares. So we really spent a little over a quarter of a minimum wage.”

    Where do they get so much money? We know where, and how….

    That has to change.

  4. “Our joint grand total was: BsF 1.985,32. That is only US$ 3.3 at a black-market rate of 611.25 BsF/US$. But our salaries are in bolívares. So we really spent a little over a quarter of a minimum wage.”

    You forgot to tell that the minimum wage is less than the amount that equals 12$, so, yeah, you spent more than a week’s worth of salary into less than half a market.

    I remember this conversation I had with some foreign friends about how one could basically make part of a living in Venezuela with 50$ a month, I explained them almost all the mess that’s the cadivi hydra with its many heads (sicad, cencoex, simadi, sicad 2 electric boogaloo, marginalito and black market or the “actual, only existing rate”), and they were speechless at the fact that the minimum wage in Venezuela didn’t cover even 25% of a basic basket, which I mentioned was at like 32.000 Bs (Though I guess it’s far more…)

    So, yeah, I could spend a week drawing a couple of pinups for two customers and charge each one 45-50$, resell those dollars at black market rate or even a bit lower to get rid of them fast, and I could make more money than what I’m earning for almost 3 months of my actual work…

  5. “Jackpot/smiled/lucky/marveled/elation”–all of the same feelings of the 80+% D-E classes, but without the “revulsion/loathing/despair/anger” of the Middle Class.

  6. Today I received an email from a friend who left Venezuela for England to study. He now has these letters after his name: OBE MB BCh BAO MSc FRCS (Urol) RAF R’td ., he learnt English then did all this
    I can’t put his name due to the kidnappings and ransoms in the country. His surname is not a very common one and maybe someone might decide to target his family.
    It got me thinking how many great brains have nowhere to go under the current situation.
    We think of the material items that we use day to day for obvious reasons but the long term damage will be felt for many years.

  7. “It got me thinking how many great brains have nowhere to go under the current situation”.

    Not many. Out of an estimated 1.5 Million of us who fled Vzla, 90% were the professional “brains” you mention. The rest seem happy when they find carrots and toilet paper, as you can see.

    • We don’t usually reply, but your comment confused us.

      What we go through on our everyday lives is really stressful and even depressing, so we try to take it with side of humor. That’s why we wanted the post to be entertaining.

      We decided to stay (at least for now), and we are not asking for a standing ovation and don’t expect you to share our thoughts and feelings. But do you really think that our decision to stay or our happiness comes down to finding regulated products? Really?

      • Anabella and Barbara, I, for one, appreciate your excellent writing, and your courage to stand your ground in the face of the daily disaster that is Venezuela today. Without people like you, the majority readership of CC, living outside the Country, would not understand what it’s really like to live in Venezuela.

      • What NET. said, plus my two cents (10 bsf?):

        Your articles, and those of Audrey Dacosta, bring insights to the day-to-day living in Vnzla. that are not to be found elsewhere.

    • Nunca entendé la superioridad moral que se asignan algunas de las personas que tuvieron la oportunidad de emigar, como es un motivo de orgullo para ellas tener privilegio económicos, educativos y de conexiones que te hacen posible algo que para la gran mayoría es inaccesible.

      • Lo que me confunde, es que algunos se arrechen porque otro tenga un REFLEJO de alegrarse al conseguir un pinche producto que tenía meses que no veía.

        ¿Qué otra emoción pretenden que tenga por ejemplo alguien que lleve un mes limpiándose entre los cachetes con papel periódico y tenga la oportunidad de comprar papel tualé? Por favor, de bola que va a alegrarse, aunque a los 15 minutos se le vaya la alegría porque recuerde que tuvo que limpiarse el fax durante un mes con periódicos en primer lugar por CULPA del racionamiento que le impidió conseguir el papel tualé.

      • Sometimes they are not economically better off. They know they can fly and refuse to sit idly by and waste their talents. The same reason people cross borders illegally, hoping for a brighter future. The same reason people leave a home they love and care about and go to a strange land to work hard and reap their just rewards.
        Think of all of the university students who hoped to advance in life and now have shattered dreams.
        In the best of countries, it takes dedication and hard work to achieve your goals.

  8. What I find fascinanting is how groups of people , all kind of social networks , families , friends , relatives , spontaneously join together and organize themselves and act to cope with the shortages , everything one buys goes into a pot to distribute to people in the network and viceversa , exchanges are commonplace , thats also the way bachaqueos operate , by groups . You can go for months without finding coffee but you are Ok because some friend or relative shares their coffee with you , same goes for medicines . There is an element of natural solidarity that many times saves the day . Ive seen total strangers ( myself included) share things with others which need them more than I do. My wife is a savvy operator finding hard to get medicines , calls or contacts dozens of pharmacies a day until someone gives her a clue which she follows until she finds some drug for the grandaughter of some second cousin of hers. Know of ladies who routinely queue together sharing information on whats available where , get together and take turns in a long queue so that as one stands the other rests in the shade or goes to the ladies room or brings the others a cup of coffee or a soft drink. Of course people are angry at the govt but at the same time they organize themselves to find what they lack.

      • I had sworn that I would never wait in line to get into a supermarket. A little over a year ago I went to the store and there was a line; I said no way and went back home only to find a pretty empty fridge. Went back the next day and waited in a line that was twice as long, as my stomach was already making noises. It is very depressing what this government has done to us. I guess this must be the way slaves felt in colonial times when they have o wait in line for whatever their masters would give them.

        In reference to other comments above, it’s not easy to just pack and leave. When you get to certain age it becomes more difficult to procure a job anywhere and deciding to make such a drastic change is rather difficult even though one may know it’s the right decision.

  9. The calculus of the regime is that the little red guy can be managed. If people are standing in line, the red guy is hopping mad. If there are no lines and people are paying the actual value of the goods they need to live on, the red guy and the skinny guy (fear) blow their stacks and its all over. I think most people think the skinny guy will show up if the opposition is elected.

  10. I buy from the bachaqueros. The do not provide a product; they provide a service. I don’t have to hunt toilet paper and then stand in line to buy it. They do it for me and I pay them for their work.

    • And squander your hard earned money, lowering your actual aquisitive power to 1/4 of what it actually should be.

      But, hey, at least you didn’t have to watch the bachabasura laughing in your face when they came and sweeped everything off the shelves before you had a chance to get it.

      “They provide a service” Hahah! Nice joke, dude.

  11. I find it amazing that some people justify, and even celebrate, the bachaqueros, who are people who purchase basic goods at heavily subsidized prices and then turn around and sell them, with no warranty, no accountability, no acceptable infrastructure, no health regulations to speak of, and no taxes, at distorted market prices, and pocket the huge difference. We must not forget that any government subsidy is money not being used to address other needs of society. So basically, the bachaquero takes this subsidy, this money that could be used for, say, hospitals, and pockets it all to himself. Unfairly, and unashamedly. It amazes me that some people find this fair, only because these ridiculous subsidies are the government’s and not the bachaquero’s fault, as if one bad can compensate another bad. The tragedy is that in Venezuela, not only are we lacking in ethics, but we are also lacking in basic logical thinking.

    • Cesar
      “… sell them, with no warranty, no accountability, no acceptable infrastructure, no health regulations to speak of, and no taxes …”

      It is not the fault of the Bachaqueros that they have to sell in those conditions since they are working outside of the legal framework. Those conditions are imposed by the government even though economic liberty is one of the constitutional rights. But even so, those that buy from them are perfectly aware and willing to buy under those conditions.

      “… at distorted market prices, and pocket the huge difference. We must not forget that any government subsidy is money not being used to address other needs of society. So basically, the bachaquero takes this subsidy, this money that could be used for, say, hospitals, and pockets it all to himself. Unfairly, and unashamedly.”

      That is not correct. The money the Bachaqueros are pocketing comes from the buyers that pay those distorted prices, not from the government. Again, it is important to note that those buyers are perfectly willing to pay those prices. They have good reason to do it. For some people time is cheap and money expensive and for others is the opposite. Some people just cannot afford to spend hours looking for products they need. But they can afford to pay others to do it for them. So it makes perfect sense. Also these buyers have as much right to acquire those products as those that can endure the big lines. Since they cannot do it themselves it follows that they have a right to pay someone to procure the product for them, hence Bachaqueros are necessary. It is only fair. Otherwise they would not be able to obtain the products they need.

      Again, the treasury coffers are not affected one bit by Bachaqueros; they receive the exact same amount of money whether a Bachaquero or an end consumer buys the products. If a subsidy money is “not being used to address other needs of society” it is the sole responsibility of the government that decided to pay for that subsidy, never of the Bachaqueros who are just trying to make a living. If prices were not controlled then the government could be pocketing “the huge difference”.

      Furthermore the government is the only responsible for creating the scarcity, the black market and the Bachaqueros. Without price control there would not be scarcity. Without scarcity and price control there would be no black market, and without black market there would be no Bachaqueros. Without the economic crisis there would not be so many people in need to make a living in any way possible.

      ” only because these ridiculous subsidies are the government’s and not the bachaquero’s fault, as if one bad can compensate another bad. ”

      In fact Bachaqueros ameliorate the problem created by those price controls.
      By selling more expensive they reduce the demand and thus reduce the scarcity. Also the unemployment increase caused by the reduced economic activity (part of it because of the price controls) is compensated by the informal Bachaquero activity.

      “not only are we lacking in ethics, but we are also lacking in basic logical thinking.”

      Many times the dynamics of macroeconomics are counter intuitive and go against what at first sight seems logical.

      ——————————————————————————————-

      In macroeconomics the agents need to be viewed and understood as something akin to forces of nature. They can be influenced, redirected, affected, even tamed to a degree but never totally contained. Those forces of nature always find a way. Whenever there is an opportunity for a profit someone will take it regardless of if it is legal or not, right or wrong, ethical or not, moral or not. It is futile to complain about it. Good examples are The Prohibition Era and nowadays the War on Drugs.

      Many of those who complain about Bachaqueros would do exactly the same thing if they were in their shoes. Because the majority may not understand macroeconomics but everyone readily gets microeconomics and acts accordingly.

      “No tiene la culpa el ratón sino el que le pone el queso”,
      It’s not the fault of the mouse but of the one who offers him cheese.

      It is the government’s fault, not the Bachaqueros, for creating the price controls.

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